Skip to comments.Can imperfect scriptures lead to God?
Posted on 09/21/2009 5:51:47 AM PDT by Colofornian
The 8th Article of Faith states: "We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God."
In the title page of the Book of Mormon, we read, "...if there are faults they are the mistakes of men; wherefore, condemn not the things of God."
Lastly, we read the words of Moroni shortly after he took over his father's record: "Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him ... we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, ... and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record" (Mormon 9:30-31).
As emphasized repeatedly in this series, anything with which man is involved -- even if directed by God -- will be imperfect, fallible and, to some degree, errant. Neither ancient nor modern prophets were, or are, perfect, and the scriptures they've produced will likewise fall short of inerrancy. Fallible human prophets and errant scripture can still lead us to God despite any imperfections.
As explained in previous issues, prophets must communicate revelation -- whether in general-conference addresses or when writing scripture -- according to their own language and their limited understanding of this world and the eternities.
All language is inherently ambiguous -- all have words or phrases that can mean different things to different readers. Take the word "cleave" for example. It can mean to cut something apart -- as in "to cleave a diamond into two smaller stones" -- but it can also mean to cause two things to adhere together, as in "therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24).
Or how about "critical"? We can be critical of someone else's views, or we can say the Bible is critical to Christianity. The context, time frame, and cultural and other variables can affect how a word is understood. The Bible has gone through various translations and each translator made determinations about the meaning of words based on his or her familiarity with the words and how they would have been used by the specific author. Errors are bound to happen.
Some might be tempted to think that because the Book of Mormon came directly from God to Joseph Smith there shouldn't be any errors. This, however, is a naive assumption. An exact word-for-word translation from one language to another typically yields little more than gibberish.
Even for Joseph to have understood the text, the Lord would have had to translate the Nephite words into something that made sense to Joseph. And it's important to remember that the purpose of translating the Book of Mormon into English was to teach spiritual truths that can cause individuals to receive personal revelation, not to reveal historical truths about the ancient inhabitants of the Americas (more on this in the next issue).
Even if God would have conveyed a perfect text to Joseph Smith, any reader whose language, culture or understanding of English words varied from Joseph's Smith's would -- on their own reading of the text -- naturally misinterpret some passages of text.
What does this mean for us who read the imperfect scriptures? The word of God need not be perfect in order to invoke the power of drawing us closer to God. In Doctrine and Covenants section 128, for example, Joseph Smith quotes Malachi 4:5-6 exactly as it is quoted in the King James Version Bible. In verse 18 the prophet Joseph added: "I might have rendered a plainer translation to this, but it is sufficiently plain to suit my purpose as it stands."
We should take the same approach to the scriptures as we take with the prophets -- we should seek the guidance of the Spirit. While the word of God may contain errors, and while we may not fully understand every nuance of every phrase, word or term in the scriptures, the Holy Spirit has the power to help us understand the word of God in its role of drawing us closer to the divine and opening our hearts to personal revelation.
Mormon leaders must try to get them prepped.
Mormonistic spin cycle: "Of course, Mormon revelations have mistakes. Of course, Mormon revelations have errors. Hey, nobody's perfect. We're not sure if those 10 Commandments were delivered properly by Moses. Who knows? There may have been 11 or 12 of them. Or maybe coveting's OK, after all. You know, if Moses had been allowed to chop them up & edit them like Smith & other unknown Mormon leaders have been allowed to hack up D&C & the BoM, then we might have a more presentable product there in Exodus."
From the article: ...and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record" (Mormon 9:30-31).
(And Jews couldn't write in Hebrew why? And Jews would choose to write in the language of their enemies -- Egyptian -- why? And who's ever heard of "reformed Egyptian" outside of Mormonism?)
From the article: ...anything with which man is involved -- even if directed by God -- will be imperfect, fallible and, to some degree, errant.
Mormonistic spin cycle consistency: "In other words, you really can't trust any given paragraph, phrase or sentence in any Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, or the Bible -- even the JST version. Why? 'Cause ...any paragraph or phrase with which man is involved -- including Joseph Smith -- even if directed by God -- will be imperfect, fallible and, to some degree, errant."
From the article: While the word of God may contain errors, and while we may not fully understand every nuance of every phrase, word or term in the scriptures, the Holy Spirit has the power to help us understand the word of God in its role of drawing us closer to the divine and opening our hearts to personal revelation.
Mormonistic spin cycle: "While we attack the notion of a perfect God being able to communicate perfectly with men, and men at times being able to receive that communication perfectly, we won't attack the Holy Spirit's power to help us understand God's word. Why? Because we elevate subjective feelings above all else. And the most convenient way we can do that is through our concept of 'personal revelation.'"
How would the validity of the scripture be show?
One could ask that question about any scripture version, including the KJV.
By placing the translation condition on the bible and NOT on the book of Mormon, at least two things should be evident:
1. That the book of Mormon is held in higher authority against the Bible
2. That they are aware of the contradictory nature of the Bible vs the BOM.
Isaiah's a good example of that...what he said would happen came about. Isaiah 53 is an excellent chapter, for example, describing the Messiah in detail.
On the other hand, here's 53 Examples where what Joseph Smith said "didn't come to pass": AndItDidn'tCometoPass
There’s a difference between imperfectly translated or interpreted Scripture and something that’s called *scripture* that’s not.
While I think that God can use almost anything to turn a person towards Him, only actual Scripture is capable of leading a person into Truth, that is Jesus Christ, God Incarnate.
If it has to be excused as *imperfect scripture* then it’s not. It’s either true, or not true.
It is easy. If the prophecies are accurate and come to pass, the scripture is valid.
Sadly there are no accurate prophecies anywhere. That tells me a lot.
Unclear - do you mean there are no accurate prophesies in the BOM, the Bible, or both?
Don't you mean duh? It is glaringly obvious that I am correct.
Do you have a favorite, accurate, prophecy that has been fulfilled precisely as prophesied? You should have thousands, but sadly you don't have a single one do you?
Glenn Beck is influenced by Mormonism and while I agree with a lot of the work he is doing regarding Acorn and the whole mess in DC, I still have a nagging of doubt about him.
I will say though that as I have heard him speak about his faith, I don’t hear a lot of prophet Josephisms coming from from him...but I do hear a lot of Jesus Christ is the divine son of God type comments.
Makes me wonder if some of the Higher up Mormons may be a bit uncomfortable with the thrust of his vision as well. He has said he has begged God to help him understand rightly what God wants him to do and say...God may just be honoring that and is taking Glenn way beyond anything he ever expected...which is why Glenn’s faith sounds much more like “orthodox” Christianity and less like “mormonism”!
Your implicit claim of omniscience should probably been taken with a grain of salt.
He means no accurate prophecies in the book of Mormon...the standard from the Bible is 100 per cent accuracy. Anything less and the prophecy and source are suspect. Even Nostradamus prophecies were not 100 per cent accurate though some were fairly close.
Higher order Demons and Satan too, might be able to get a good read on historic trends and may have a limited ability to “see around the corner” and impart that knowledge to vulnerable humans....but what they can’t know are the points at which God chooses to interrupt and interfere in events causing changes in the timelines as projected by these nefarious creatures.
Then of course God himself has stated that in the “latter days I shall pour out my spirit UPON ALL FLESH so that the old men shall dream dreams,the young men shall see visions, and that your daughters shall prophecy!” Interesting that he says “all flesh”.
Then you have a prophecy that foretells of Jesus? That would be interesting to see.
Hmm, I listen to Glenn Beck as well and I don't think that anything he says couldn't be said in General Conference (if the subject is appropriate). Mormonism at its heart is Christian.
Having said that, there are no true Prophets.
Cute but no cigar. Try again.